Twitter, Amazon Alexa, GameBender, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 30, 2019

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The Verge: Twitter is looking to hire a ‘master in the art of Twitter’ to become its Tweeter in Chief. “In the age of brands engaging in disturbing levels of personified intimacy with users on social media to package and sell mental illness or fashion consumption as a radical act of self-expression, Twitter itself is realizing that it needs some of the same marketing magic its platform has gifted fast food brands. streaming services, and cookie companies. That or Twitter wants its own Wendy’s chicken nugget or Instagram record-breaking egg moment.” When a pulled quote just makes you go uuuuugh.

CNET: Amazon’s new Alexa features puts added emphasis on privacy. “Privacy has become a much bigger concern for consumers and Amazon appears to be paying attention. The tech giant on Wednesday said it made it easier for users to delete their Alexa voice recordings.”

Santa Cruz Sentinel: GameBender teaches children how to code while gaming. “Instead of watching a TV show passively on the couch, children can now make changes as they watch and learn how to code, thanks to GameBender. The education startup, created by the makers of Makey Makey, will release its first gaming system Wednesday. Headquartered in Cocoa Beach, Florida, GameBender gives children the ability to make edits to characters and their actions on video games, science apps and DIY TV shows from the visual programming language nonprofit Scratch.”


KnowTechie: 7 of the smartest AI-apps I’ve used so far. Apparently a guest post, but a fun guest post. “Nowadays, there are plenty of apps that you can download at home onto your smartphone to see just how far AI has come. Not sure where to look? Here are 7 of the smartest AI-apps I’ve used so far.”


Slate: Donald Trump’s Wikipedia Entry Is a War Zone. “On July 16, 2018, Democrats, Republicans, and the media were reeling from the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki. President Donald Trump had announced before the entire world that he didn’t ‘see any reason why’ Russia would have interfered in the 2016 election, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary gathered by the intelligence community…. Wikipedia editors, meanwhile, were split over whether the summit was momentous enough to include on Donald Trump’s page, one of the site’s most contentious areas.” The headline might have given you the idea that this is one of those incendiary articles. It’s not. It’s a deep dive with an interesting look at Wikipedia’s editing mechanisms and culture.

WRAL: Many items in Rhode Island’s archives are at risk of damage. “Many items in the Rhode Island archives, including the state’s copy of the Bill of Rights, are at risk of damage because they’re kept in a building that’s not meant for preserving rare, historic documents, according to an assessment released Tuesday.”

NBC News: Did the Iranians create fake U.S. social media accounts and pose as GOP politicians?. “Starting in April 2018, a group of anonymous people created fake American social media accounts to pose as journalists, plant letters to newspapers and impersonate Republican candidates for Congress — all in an apparent effort to promote Iranian interests. Was this the work of an Iranian intelligence service? A third country? A band of pranksters?”


United States Army: CID warns Army community about social media impersonation of Soldier accounts. “U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Computer Crime Investigative Unit (CCIU) is once again warning Soldiers and the Army community to be on the lookout for ‘social media scams’ where cybercriminals impersonate service members by using actual and fictitious information, not just for ‘trust-based relationship scams,’ also known as romance scams, but for other impersonation crimes such as sales schemes and advance fee schemes.”

India Times: Andhra Pradesh agriculture ministry site exposed Aadhaar data of farmers. “Aadhaar numbers of thousands of farmers in Andhra Pradesh have been leaked, with the state’s agriculture ministry exposing the details through an open database on its website. A French security researcher who goes by the Twitter name Elliot Alderson and @fs0c131y Twitter handle, first discovered the data breach on Tuesday.”


Wired: To Fight Deepfakes, Researchers Built a Smarter Camera. “One of the most difficult things about detecting manipulated photos, or ‘deepfakes,’ is that digital photo files aren’t coded to be tamper-evident. But researchers from New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering are starting to develop strategies that make it easier to tell if a photo has been altered, opening up a potential new front in the war on fakery.”

SecurityWeek: Research Shows Twitter Manipulation in Weeks Before EU Elections. “This is an age of large scale political social engineering through social media, both by advertising and the presentation of misleading data. International social engineering became frontpage news with the 2016 US presidential elections, but has not abated since. Researchers with the Sherpa project analyzed the use of social media as a recommendation system — specifically Twitter — ahead of the European elections in May 2019.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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